By Our reporter
A religious group known as the Muslim Parents Forum of the International School, Ibadan has petitioned the Department of State Services (DSS) and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) over what it termed the harassment of their children and wards by the management of the school.
In separate letters dated July 9 and signed by Abdur-Rahman Balogun and Hajia Bilkis Badiru, chairman and secretary respectively, the forum called on the two government bodies to intervene and ensure that justice prevails in the school community.
They recalled their earlier letter to the school authorities asking them to allow their daughters express their religious freedom by wearing hijab to school, stating that the matter was later dragged to court, but was struck out on technical grounds on June 25.
The forum said that capitalizing on the outcome of the court case, the school management, especially the principal have resorted to intimidation of the affected female Muslim students which they said is unacceptable.
“This flagrant disregard for the constitutional rights of the girls to adorn the hijab, especially outside the school premises is considered an affront on the collective sensibilities of the Muslims who have children in the school.
“It is therefore, disturbing that the school principal and staff of the school took the laws into their hands by harassing our daughters for adorning the hijab outside the school premises, several meters away from the school gate on July 3. Although, the girls were later allowed entry, but only after they have been thoroughly disgraced in front of their peers,” the letter stated.
Continuing, the forum added that the situation was escalated further by the school’s management recently, when the girls were disgraced outside the school premises.
“On July 4, the situation became worse as the girls were thoroughly disgraced outside the school premises under the watchful eyes of the chief security officer of the University of Ibadan, the school vice principal, hordes of security personnel from both the university and the school, including some gun-wielding policemen. The video of the harassment is currently trending on social media.
“The matter was promptly reported to the leadership of the University of Ibadan Muslim Community, who swung into action by contacting the university’s administration. This probably informed the decision of the school authority to relax their draconian posture on July5-8 to a more sinister, but less observable form of harassment,” the forum said.
Frowning at the continued harassment of the students, the forum said it is contemplating another legal action against the school management and therefore, requested that the NHRC and DSS intervene by halting the abuse and intimidation of the students as well as protecting of their rights as citizens.